Any decision on the future of Harvard's ROTC ties will have to wait until the Faculty can meet and discuss President Clinton's new compromise on the issue of the ban on gays in the military, President Neil I., Rudenstine said in an interview yesterday.
Clinton announced last week that he would put forth a compromise proposal entitled "don't ask, don't tell," in which military recruits would not be questioned about sexual orientation but could be discharged for "homosexual conduct."
The Faculty voted in May to approve the report by the Committee on ROTC, chaired by Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53, which called for Harvard to stop paying MIT a fee for Harvard students to participate in the MIT ROTC program with the first-year class entering in the fall of 1994.
Rudenstine said the entire Faculty will have to discuss whether it feels the decision brings the ROTC program in line with the sexual orientation clause of Harvard's anti-discriminatory policy.
"My sense is that...our first obligation is to go back to the faculty, and that includes Professor Verba," he said. "I don't mean we necessarily want to call his whole committee back into session, but they certainly ought to be asked for their views, and the Faculty Council, and then the whole Faculty, and see what the response is."
Rudenstine said that he did not think the process would go quickly.
"The main recommendation was that we should not pay the fee any more and that would in some sense put us sufficiently at a distance. Well, there's no way that I know of that MIT will say in one day. It may take weeks, it may take months. I just don't know," he said.
The Faculty, if they choose, will adhere to the committee-imposed deadline.
He also said that he would like to have the specifics and the legality of the new government policy checked out by Harvard's own experts before making a final decision.
"I want to get the wording of what exactly was passed, because there is language that I want to make sure that not only I but the General Counsel's office people understand," Rudenstine said. "I'd be interested to know what some of our lawyers think the constitutionality of it is."
Rudenstine, however, refused to give his own opinion on Clinton's decision at this time.
"I have a view. I just think I really ought not to preempt the faculty," he said. "I'll be more than glad in the course of the discussions to say what I think...but I'd rather hear what they have to say first and not to seem to be signalling to them one thing or the other.